Category Archives: Christianity

Book Review: Why We’re Protestant by Nate Pickowicz

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u6zfemtWhen writing reviews, there are lots of thing you can say about a thick book. This is because a bulky volume can cover lots of grounds in a given topic. However in this new book of Nathan Pickowicz it’s not just an introduction to the 5 Solas we affirm. But it’s a mix bag of everything for everyone’s need done in a clear, understandable and orderly manner.  This book is for a.) A believer who is confused with what he believes b.) A Catholic who wants to know the difference doctrinally between a Protestant and Roman Catholic church c.) A believer who wants to know the historic background of the 5 solas d.) A believer who wants a concise biblical response to Roman Catholicism’s beliefs and e.) A seeker who wants to know how to get right with God. That’s why I love reading this short book of because every angle is covered to satisfy different readers.

Reading this as we celebrate the 500th of the Reformation will reinforce the biblical and historical belief that we hold as a Christian. And it’s a gentle reminder for us that we should not compromise what believe. I highly recommend this book.

My verdict:

5 out of 5

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The Quotable Round-Up # 65

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Photo by Nonsap Visuals on Unsplash

Hey people here’s your favorite post. Hot and fresh quotes from the books “ Apologetics Made Simple” by Jason Petersen, “A Rulebook for Arguments” by Anthony Weston (a secular author) and “Drawn by the Father” by James R. White . If you enjoyed these quotes, please buy the books at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“There are two common mistakes that unbelievers typically make when they misrepresent Christianity. First, they might change the definitions of the words you used to describe your position. When this happens, do not let them get away with it. Explain why it is important to utilize common definitions. Explain how changing definitions can alter the meaning of the entire proposition. Second, they will ignore what the Bible teaches about whatever topic they are discussing.” — Jason Petersen

“When one is claiming that a proposition is true, a simple question must be answered. That question is, “How do you know that what you believe is true?” Any philosophy that cannot answer this question collapses into skepticism. Perhaps a person may agree that their philosophy results in skepticism, but you only need to tell them, “If you know that you know nothing, you do know something.” Therefore, skepticism is self-refuting.” — Jason Petersen

“If anyone has any beliefs whatsoever, they only can have them by assuming that a proposition is true. Without a starting belief, it is impossible to draw a conclusion. This starting belief is known as an ‘axiom.’ With all of this being said, everyone who has any belief at all is a dogmatist.” — Jason Petersen

“When you are using arguments as a means of inquiry, you sometimes may start with no more than the conclusion you wish to defend. State it clearly, first of all.” — Anthony Weston

“Argument is essential, in the first place, because it is a way of finding out which views are better than others. Not all views are equal. Some conclusions can be supported by good reasons. Others have much weaker support. But often we don’t know which are which. We need to give arguments for different conclusions and then assess those arguments to see how strong they really are.”– Anthony Weston

“What is the result of the divine transaction? What does the Father’s sovereign choice mean in the lives of men? The answer is clear: those who are given by the Father to the Son shall come to the Son. It is not said that they might come, or that they have a higher probability than others to come, but that they shall come. They will come to Christ, they will believe in Christ, they will trust Christ.” — James R. White

“Inarguable truth of Christ’s words is that men who are the object of God’s grace in being given by the Father to the Son will come to Christ as Lord. They will do this without fail. No man who is so given will seek his salvation or his sufficiency anywhere but in Christ.” — James R. White

 

The Quotable Round Up #11

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Last September 19, me and my girlfriend enjoyed the annual Manila International Book Fair 2015 held at MOA SMX. Of course we came home with lots of books to read and share with others. Have you been there too? Can you share you experience here on my blog? I hope and pray that you have been part of this event and got your favorite book. Now on with our weekly quotes:
“A Christian who is full of joy, who is peaceful about his circumstances, is the Christian who has hope. He has the God of hope front and center in his heart.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“So my friend, no matter if your emotions are up or down, follow the Lord’s lead today. May the mind of Christ your Savior live in you from day to day, and ask God to simply put a song in your heart as you pick up your cross daily and follow Him.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“Believers have been purchased, and the price was the blood of Christ, the life of Christ, for in Jewish categories the life was in the blood. In the Old Testament, it was not enough to scratch an animal to get blood for a sacrifice. The animal had to shed its blood in death, and so did Christ to pay for sins.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Give thanks that He is sovereign. Give thanks that He is in control. Give thanks that He’s planning it all for your good—for your family’s good—which ultimately will be all to His glory.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“God won’t always change our circumstances, but if we ask Him, He will often step in to change our perspective!”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“A day of ministry in Christ’s kingdom is far better than a thousand days lived in pursuit of self-destructive pleasures.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“We can’t afford to be complacent about God’s glory. The fact is that putting your Christian life on autopilot is the same thing as “walking in the flesh.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

The Greatest Need of Man Answered and Settled by God Part 7

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Praise is due to you,a O God, in Zion,

and to you shall vows be performed.

 

O you who hear prayer,

to you shall all flesh come.

 

When iniquities prevail against me,

you atone for our transgressions.

 

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,

to dwell in your courts!

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,

the holiness of your temple!

 

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,

O God of our salvation,

the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas;

 

the one who by his strength established the mountains,

being girded with might;

 

who stills the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples,

 

so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

 

You visit the earth and water it;

you greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

you provide their grain,

for so you have prepared it.

 

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

 

You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

 

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

 

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

–Psalms 65:1-13

God’s Credibility

If you are familiar with Greek mythology, you can see all sorts of gods depicted in their literature. These gods have different powers that enable them to defeat enemies. However, these gods, like humans that created them, has certain limitations. And surprisingly, these Greek gods can be outsmarted by mortals. With that kind of god, being powerful has limits. Yet the God of the Bible is far beyond what the human mind can conceive. But because of His goodness, He let us grasp us some aspects of Him being God through the Scriptures. As we wind down to a few installments of our study, we already studied the two things God answered to man’s greatest need. Then we turned to the satisfaction that these truths bring. This week and two succeeding weeks, we shall focus on the five things why we should trust God. As we read the middle and later part of Psalms 65, we can see the first two of God’s credibility:

  1. Far Reaching

 

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,

O God of our salvation,

the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas; (v.5)

 

so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.(v.8)

 

As we read verses 5 and 8, we can see God as being the hope, reaches at the very ends of earth. Turning to Psalms 103: 11-12, “His love is as high as the heavens are above earth” and “as far as the east from the west, so far does he remove our transgression from us”. Those description means that God is limitless to reach each and every one to display His goodness and mercy. God is not bound geographically, that His saving powered is concentrated in Jerusalem. Going back to the verses 5 and 8, we see that His far reaching capabilities is extended to the farthest part of earth.

 

 

  1. Powerful

the one who by his strength established the mountains,

being girded with might;

 

who stills the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples, (vs. 6 & 7)

Knowing already that God is far reaching, it won’t be hard for us to accept that He is powerful.  Not only does He “by his strength established the mountains…” or “who stills the roaring of the seas”, according to Psalms 104: 5 He is the one who “set the earth on its foundation”. That is why there is no excuse to trust God in what He gave us. The two greatest need of man from a far reaching and powerful God! May we give glory to Him day by day!

The Greatest Need of Man Answered and Settled by God Part 6

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Praise is due to you,a O God, in Zion,

and to you shall vows be performed.

 

O you who hear prayer,

to you shall all flesh come.

 

When iniquities prevail against me,

you atone for our transgressions.

 

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,

to dwell in your courts!

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,

the holiness of your temple!

 

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,

O God of our salvation,

the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas;

 

the one who by his strength established the mountains,

being girded with might;

 

who stills the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples,

 

so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

 

You visit the earth and water it;

you greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

you provide their grain,

for so you have prepared it.

 

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

 

You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

 

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

 

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

–Psalms 65:1-13

God’s Credibility

Now that we have found the two needs of man that has been answered by God and the satisfactions it brings to us, we are now to focus on why we would trust God in those things. We are now bound to see God’s credibility. The later part of Psalms 65 left us the full details on why we should count on Him.

Searching for relevant information using internet is so easy. Just go to Google, type your inquiries and in a fraction of a second, it will yield the information you are looking for. However, not all the information you’ll get are true. We don’t want to get, say news items that are false. We want to have a reliable source that we can depend on to get the truth. Similarly, God does have something to say on why we should believe on Him. He can authenticate His claims by who He is. Our two greatest needs (salvation and prayer) rely on God’s credibility for it held both of them to be dependable.

There are five things we should consider to see the reliability of God:

  1. Far reaching

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,

O God of our salvation,

the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas; (v.5)

 

so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.(v.8)

 

  1. Powerful

 

the one who by his strength established the mountains,

being girded with might;

 

who stills the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples, (vs. 6 & 7)

 

  1. Provider

 

you provide their grain,

for so you have prepared it. (v. 9)

 

 

  1. He Holds the Time

 

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. (v.8)

 

  1. Enricher

 

You visit the earth and water it;

you greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

you provide their grain,

for so you have prepared it. (v. 9)

 

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.(v. 10)

 

You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.( v. 11)

 

               

In the succeeding weeks we will look at these five traits of God’s credibility.

Book Review: Led to Lead by Marty Berglund

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When you think about leadership books, sometimes it’s synonymous with the name John Maxwell or a powerful book written by J. Oswald Sanders. Most likely they will draw leadership lessons from characters in the Bible. It could be from the life of David, Solomon, Nehemiah, and of course from our Lord Jesus Christ. But I havent yet encounter a leadership book entirely centers in the life of Moses. “Led to Lead” is fill to the brim look at the faith AND leadership of Moses. I put the emphasis on “and” because both faith and leadership goes hand in hand especially with Christian leaders. With its 22 chapters, I think every aspect of faith and leadership are tackled in an easy to read manner. Journey along this book as it discuss relevant issues pertain a Christian.

This book has a nice and informative content, very inspiring to everyone not just for leaders but also to every believers. When I start reading this book, I feel that I can’t stand up until I finish it till the end. My favorite favorite chapters in “Led to Lead” are Chapter 7, 8, and 15. I learned here that in times we don’t know our future “Don’t Give Up” because in times like this, when we can’t see what instore in the future, it’s a great opportunity to trust God. We need to “Get Prepared” and always willing to obey, rely on God’s plan and when we trust in His plan in our life we could share it to other people this marvelous things God did to our life. When we want to be “Happy in Following God”, we need to take heed to His plan and be ready to listen to His voice.

“Led to Lead”

Study The Book: Delighting Grace Interviews Jacob D. Gerber of 19Baskets

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Recently read Jacob D. Gerber’s “5 of the Best Free Bible Study Tools” which is very helpful. His websites http://www.freedailybiblestudy.com articles and podcast are superb. I got the chance to meet him over Tweeter and asked a few questions about Bible Study.

Delighting Grace: What is a Bible Study and how important is it to a Christian?

Jacob D. Gerber: At its most basic, a Bible study is when we open up God’s word in the Bible to read it, ask questions about what we are reading, seek out what God is telling us in his word, and then respond to what God has spoken through prayer, faith, and obedience. 

Since Christianity is first of all a relationship with God through Christ, then studying God’s word is of primary importance. Put simply, we cannot know God unless we listen to him speaking. Just like I cannot have a relationship with my wife (or, at least, not a good one!) unless I talk with her—both listening to her and speaking to her—so also we cannot have a good relationship with God unless we listen to him and respond to him.

Delighting Grace: How do you conduct a Bible Study?

Jacob D. Gerber: A Bible study can happen with an individual, but it’s a very beneficial thing to study God’s word with other people in a group. That way, we can help each other to better understand what we are reading, and we can also help encourage each other to apply what we are learning to our lives as we seek to follow Jesus as his disciples.

To conduct a group Bible study, then, here are a couple of quick tips. 

First, make sure that at least one person prepares to lead the discussion. It’s much better if everyone can prepare, but it’s hard to study the Bible deeply if everyone is reading that passage cold for the first time when you meet together.

Second, work hard to get to what God is actually saying in his word rather than on your own thoughts and feelings. This can be difficult, but it’s important to keep in mind that God has actually spoken, and that we are more interested in what he has to say than what we have to say.

Third, don’t forget to pray, and especially to pray that God himself would guide you into truth by his Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead us into the truth and to bear witness about Jesus (John 15:26–27, 16:13; 1 John 2:20, 5:6–12), so ask God to be faithful to keep that promise as you study his word—he loves to keep his promises!

Delighting Grace: If you’re conducting one for unbelievers, how do you place the gospel in every Bible study you do for them?

Jacob D. Gerber: I think that the two most important aspects of doing a Bible study with unbelievers is (1) to make sure that you explain difficult concepts as you go, and (2) to keep Jesus Christ as the center of your conversation. And frankly, I think that these two factors are important even when your Bible study is filled with believers!

First, always make sure that you aren’t going too fast or using jargon words in your Bible study. I once did a Bible study with an unbeliever who stopped me to ask what all the numbers on the page of the Bible he was using meant! I hadn’t even considered that someone might not understand chapter and verse numbers, but it was a good reminder not to take anything for granted.

Second, keep in mind that the Bible isn’t merely a collection of stories to entertain us or rules to legislate us but that it’s the unfolding revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything in the Bible points to him in one way or another, so if you get through a Bible study and never talk about Jesus Christ and him crucified, then you’ve missed the point! Again, pray that God would illuminate the gospel of Jesus Christ as you study his word.

Delighting Grace: What should the participants expect in a Bible study?

Jacob D. Gerber: Participants should expect to study the Bible seriously. That means that sometimes ideas may get challenged (although we should always challenge ideas with kindness, love and zeal for the truth!), and that we may not have time to talk about every bunny trail, distracting idea that pops up. Instead, we want to see Jesus as we open God’s word together.

Delighting Grace:How do we prepare for Bible study?

Jacob D. Gerber:Ideally, participants would prepare for Bible study by reading the passage ahead of time, and especially by praying. I confess that I always have to remind myself to stop and pray because there is a part of me that really believes that I’m smart enough and spiritually sensitive enough to read the Bible on my own. 

God teaches in his word, though, that only the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ as we read God’s word (2 Cor. 3:7–4:6), so we need to pray that God will do just that!

Delighting Grace: For you what book or verse in the Bible should we study first in a Bible study?

Jacob D. Gerber: This really depends on the needs and maturity of the group, but it’s great to start with Jesus. Maybe begin with the Gospel of Mark, and then the Gospel of John. Then, I also think that 1 John is a fantastic book to study to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus as a disciple (I’ll say more about that in question #9).

If you want to start at the beginning of the Bible and work your way through, you may enjoy the daily Bible study meditations I write. You can subscribe for free at http://freedailybiblestudy.com/

Delighting Grace: How does a Bible study differ from a worship service or Sunday school class?

Jacob D. Gerber: A Bible study and a Sunday School class are pretty similar—both of those events involve studying God’s word in a group to learn more about Jesus.

A worship service is different, though, in that God meets with his people in more ways than through simply the reading of his word and prayer. In a worship service, God’s people still read his word and pray, but we also worship God through giving, through hearing God’s word preached, through the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and through singing. A worship service is a dialogue where God speaks and then we respond in more ways than in a Bible study.

Delighting Grace: What is 19Baskets and how do we benefit from it?

Jacob D. Gerber: 19Baskets is my publishing company, and the name derives from the leftovers of the two feedings that Jesus gave: when Jesus fed the 5000 (Matt. 14:13–21), his disciples gathered up 12 baskets of leftovers, and when Jesus fed the 4000, his disciples gathered up 7 baskets of leftovers (Matt. 15:32–39). The theme verse of 19Baskets is John 6:12: “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Accordingly, the goal of 19Baskets is to help pastors and Bible teachers to gather up the fragments of their teaching ministries into a more permanent, written form. So, in my case, the book I wrote about discipleship according to 1, 2, and 3 John was a gathering up of the fragments of a sermon series I had preached.

My hope is that 19Baskets can help ordinary pastors to write solid, valuable books for the benefit of their congregations and beyond for years to come, rather than allowing their sermons to be lost in time.

Delighting Grace: Can please tell about your book and invite our readers to check it out?

Jacob D. Gerber: Absolutely! My book, That You May Know: A Primer on Christian Discipleship is a close, careful study of 1, 2, and 3 John. It’s written to serve as a helpful devotional commentary for an individual’s study of God’s word or for a small group of people. In it, I’ve tried to avoid being so topical as to neglect the text of Scripture itself, and I’ve also tried to avoid getting mired in technical details that only a handful of Bible scholars would find interesting.

I want it to be helpful and beneficial for the average Christian who wants to know what God’s word says about following Jesus.

You can download the first two chapters of the book as a sample here:

http://freedailybiblestudy.com/sample-that-you-may-know

And you can get the book on Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.com/That-You-May-Know-Discipleship/dp/0692292632/

May God bless you richly in Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit as you study his word!

Delighting Grace: Thank you pastor. God bless you!

(Jacob D. Gerber is the Assistant Pastor of Preaching and Teaching at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lincoln, NE. He lives in Lincoln with his wife, Allison, his daughter, Evelyn, and his son, Zachariah. You can find him on Twitter @jacobdgerber)

Marianito “Nitoy” Gonzales is a 30 something blogger who wears many hats. But his passion is to preach the gospel and make God know to all men. He blogs at Delighting Grace (https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com). You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.